Emily ❤ Matt — September 30, 2017
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Our Story
Emily and Matt first met in 2008, when they both signed up to work for TIP as summer camp counselors. (Emily was technically Matt's boss, something she makes sure to remind him frequently.)

The first time they spent together was when they were assigned to direct arriving parents to the parking lot. Emily set out to carry out this task diligently and professionally, but under Matt's corrupting influence, they both quickly devolved into shouting “TIP parking!” at passing cars and otherwise goofing off.

As the summer went on, Emily and Matt spent more and more time together. Emily found Matt funny, charming, and sweet, and Matt thought Emily was beautiful, independent, and smart. She regaled him with stories of her study abroad in Dublin, and he clumsily attempted to charm her with his knowledge of sports trivia.

After the summer ended, Emily and Matt kept in touch, and Matt, who did not own a car, even occasionally convinced Emily to make the hour-and-a-half-round-trip drive from Elon to Duke. They finally went on their first date to Matt's fraternity semi-formal in October.

When Matt got an engineering internship in California the next summer, Emily, having just graduated college, joined him. Together they managed to squeeze into a 500-square-foot apartment for three months. When they returned to North Carolina in the fall, Emily enrolled in graduate school at a well-known state university eight miles from Duke. Needless to say, this made Matt, who by now had a car of his own, quite happy. Emily started working at the veterans hospital the next summer.

Emily and Matt moved full-time to California in 2011, and they now live in a quiet cottage in Santa Clara, a small city about 45 minutes south of San Francisco. In their free time, they are first and foremost the humble servants of their 20-pound mutt named Sophie, but they also enjoy sampling the variety of food, drinks, and entertainment in the Bay Area. Emily pretends to be interested in baseball, and in exchange, Matt takes Emily to Dolly Parton and Taylor Swift concerts. And each spring, they recharge with a retreat to a remote Northern California coast town (with Sophie in tow of course).

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The Proposal
August 2016 was the first joint Jacobson/Stallings family vacation.  We rented a lovely house in Corolla, N.C., and both of our families were there. One evening, Matt asked if Emily wanted to visit the Currituck Beach Lighthouse the next day.  She had a suspicion that something was up when Matt was fairly insistent that we visit the next day. Emily was wondering if he might propose.

When we were getting ready to leave for the lighthouse, Matt asked the group if anybody else would like to go.  Emily, confused at his open invitation, decided he wasn’t going to propose after all.  Matt's sister Julianna joined us, and off we went.

We climbed the tall lighthouse in the middle of the day at the hottest possible time. As we got to the top and Emily began to shake, Matt finally remembered that Emily was scared of heights. As we made our way around the top of the lighthouse, taking in the impressive ocean view, Matt got down on one knee and proposed.

She said yes! Julianna (who was in on the whole plan) took pictures of the big moment. Emily's shaking doubled in her excitement, and we cautiously descended the lighthouse's spiral staircase. When we reached the ground, Emily promptly bought every single item in the lighthouse gift shop.

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Fall in North Carolina
There is no better time to visit the North Carolina mountains than in the fall. The mild temperatures, brightly colored leaves and beautiful mountain vistas are gorgeous. (What can we say? We have great taste in wedding sites and dates…)

Here are some of our favorite local attractions:

  • The Biltmore House in Asheville is a mansion once owned by the Vanderbilt family. Built in the late nineteenth century, its grounds—including a greenhouse with exotic flora—are now open to the public.
  • The Blue Ridge Parkway is a beautiful drive that goes from Great Smoky Mountains National Park up through Virginia. Hop on in Asheville, and head north for breathtaking views.  Possible stops include a detour to Mt. Mitchell, a short but challenging hike to Crabtree Falls, and The Orchard at Altapass. If you've got a lot of time, you can even head up to Linville Caverns, Linville Falls, Grandfather Mountain, and Boone.
  • Tiny Burnsville, N.C. is Emily's hometown. Explore its quaint town square and local shops and restaurants.
  • Asheville is the “San Francisco of the South”. Explore its burgeoning craft brewery scene, local arts, and quirky downtown.
  • Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi.

The photo seen here, taken by Brent McGuirt, depicts the Blue Ridge Mountains that run along the North Carolina–Tennessee border. Several of Brent's other photographs hang in our house to remind us how beautiful this area is.

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Getting Here
Our wedding will be held in beautiful Wolf Laurel, North Carolina, just a few miles from the Tennessee line.  We'll celebrate at Memory Mountain (map), a 200-acre ranch nestled in the Appalachian Mountains.

Nearby Mars Hill is a tiny college town with lodging, restaurants, and shops.  The closest city is Asheville, where there is much to see and do (see Fall in North Carolina for some ideas).

Be warned: cell phone signal will likely be sparse, but wi-fi will be available at the reception.

If you plan to fly here, there are four airports reasonably close to Wolf Laurel. In order from largest to smallest:
  1. Charlotte, NC (CLT): 2 hours, 20 minutes away
  2. Greenville/Spartanburg, SC (GSP): 1 hour, 35 minutes away
  3. Tri-Cities Johnson City/Kingsport/Bristol, TN (TRI): 1 hour away
  4. Asheville, NC (AVL): 45 minutes away
We recommend that those who are flying also rent a car.  If you're interested in car rental sharing, e-mail Emily and Matt.

From Interstate 26, take exit 3; then follow signs for Wolf Laurel and US-23A. After 0.7 miles, turn left onto Laurel Valley Road. After 0.2 miles, turn left at the Bright Hope Laurel church onto Puncheon Fork Road (unsigned). After 2.7 miles, the destination will be on the left.

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Wolf Laurel has many lodging options, including cabins, bed-and-breakfasts, and hotels.

There are many cabins in the area available for rent through VRBO.  Search for “Wolf Laurel”.  We love VRBO and have always had really good experiences.

• The Buck House on Bald Mountain
• Bald Mountain House
• Dry Ridge Inn
• Inn on Main

• Comfort Inn (closest chain hotel)
• many other options in Asheville

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Our wedding ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 30, in the meadow at Memory Mountain. (In case of rain, we'll hold the ceremony in the nearby chapel.) After the ceremony, please join us in the barn across the street for dinner, dancing, and celebration.

On Sunday morning, we'll be serving a buffet brunch at Lakeside Lodge at Memory Mountain from 9:30 a.m. to noon. This informal gathering is open to all wedding guests for additional time to visit with family and friends.

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We consider ourselves so unimaginably fortunate to have such wonderful family and friends, and we can't wait to celebrate in your company.

In lieu of a gift, an optional donation to any worthy charity is a wonderful way to honor the occasion. Feel free to donate to any cause with meaning to you. Here are a few with particular meaning to us:

• Muttville senior dog rescue where we adopted Sadie
• Second Harvest Food Bank, serving our home county of Santa Clara
• Marin Humane Society, where we adopted Sophie
• Duke TIP, where we first met
• Goodwill Industries (Bay Area, N.C., N.Y./N.J.)